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Section A: General News


Residents critical of La Vernia school district leadership


Residents critical of La Vernia school district leadership
WILLIAM J. GIBBS JR./Reprints at wilsoncountynews.com Students and parents gather in the cafetorium of the La Vernia Primary School for the March 19 meeting of the La Vernia Independent School District board of trustees.


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Wilson County News
March 28, 2012
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LA VERNIA -- Complaints related to items such as a recent decision to extend the superintendent’s contract and workplace bullying are among the items addressed during the public forum portion of the March 19 La Vernia Independent School District (ISD) school board meeting.

Karen Comeaux said she wrote email messages to each board member March 7, asking why Superintendent Tom Harvey’s contract was being extended amid the ongoing investigation into the La Vernia Junior High School’s student activities account. The board voted 6-1 on March 6 to extend Harvey’s contract by five years.

Only one board member responded, Comeaux said. Six other parents sent emails to each board member, and there were only two responses -- both from Eric Friedrichs, the same member who voted against the contract extension.

“It seems strange to me that a group of elected officials does not feel obligated to respond to the parents of this district,” she said.

Former junior high school teacher Michelle Raines said her concerns of workplace bullying also fell on deaf ears, which was why she resigned. Raines said she attempted to address her concerns with the board, but has not been heard. When she began referring to specific conversations with administrators, board President Michael Jendrusch interrupted Raines, warning her that she was venturing into the discussion of personnel issues.

“She’s not an employee anymore!” shouted one audience member.

Other audience members rose to voice concerns, which varied from the status of $4,000 given to one campus physical education program to inconsistency in board meeting dates and times and technology deficiencies at the La Vernia Junior High School. In addition to hearing those matters, Jendrusch, Friedrichs, and fellow board members James Barnett, John Bilicek, Janice Gimbel, David Watson, and Richard Schier discussed the district’s local residence policy.

Resident Lowell Hull asked the board to consider changing the policy. He believes that the children of clergymen whose ministries are based within the district should be allowed to attend La Vernia ISD schools, even if their primary residence is located outside the district. Hull cited the example of the incoming pastor of the La Vernia United Methodist Church, who has two school-aged children and might not be able to find housing within the district, but might have to reside in the Floresville ISD.

Harvey said he spoke with the district’s attorney, who informed him that the district could change the policy. The district currently allows children of La Vernia ISD teachers to attend school there, along with children who receive after-school care from a grandparent or other relative living in the district. The board took no action on the proposal, but directed the superintendent to conduct additional research.

 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
Chopin  
La Vernia  
March 28, 2012 3:39pm
 
I also sent an email to each board member before their discussion, review and vote to extend Super Harvey's contract. It took almost 3 weeks to get ONE response from a board member. That board member made an attempt to ... More ›

 
Webmaster  
Floresville  
March 28, 2012 1:41pm
 
Video posted.

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